Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Poetry

The Loss

I still can't believe that you've gone,

Sometimes I thought you'd be with me forever
(Longer even than a long time)
And yet you have melted away:
Butter sidling amidst yellow kernels,
No more.
My heart beats stronger since you left,

I breathe easier now,
A weight has been lifted.
I hope never to see you again...

...and yet you were once part of me
So I say a fond farewell:
To five kgs of fat...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Role Models & Hypocrisy

A comment on Frank's blog concerning Scott Stapp got me thinking about this - basically it goes something like this: "He/she should not do this/that because he/she is a role model and should know better/set an example". The inference is that the person is a hypocrite because their conduct should match their celebrity.

My question is: why?

Frank makes a great point when he says that being a celebrity does not transform someone into a role model. Since when does popularity translate into moral integrity? This is often a subject for Sports Radio when an All Black stuffs up publicly. Remember Norm Hewitt? And more recently Sione Lauaki. Why is it that an incredibly physically fit male with higher than normative aggression levels should be considered a role model? The reality: Norm hewitt became more of a role model in the aftermath of his public meltdown. He demonstrated the kind of resilience and transparency that set a great example for people dealing with brokeness. Not many will know that Norm has been actively involved in running a community facing trust that has done a lot of good in the Hawkes Bay. And I'm not even going to mention the dancing...

So, when it concerns a Christian "celebrity" whats the difference? Why do Christian organisations even perpetuate the creation of these celebritites? Does a person's musical talent guarantee their moral conduct? Why are we so dismayed when such a person falls from grace...hmmm...and its in that assumption that our attitudes are found out: such people don't fall from grace - they fall from the pedestal that we place them on, but not from the arms of God.

Here's where the real hypocrisy lies: its not the celebrities' hypocrisy that we should be concerned about. But rather the hypocrisy of those who need to judge in order to feel better about their own brokeness and failure.

We human beings are appallingly visually challenged - we see the specks OK but the logs evade us - we'd be much better served in getting specs than looking for them in others!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Censorship or Cents-Ore-Chips?

I am not really someone who is concerned by "issues", but I find idiocy sometimes provokes me. To explain: Why is it that Helen Clarke ("Alpha" Prime Minister) and Lyndsay Freer (Catholics PR Spin Doctor) can't understand the satire that lies behind the controversial screening of the "Bloody Mary" Southpark episode.

Lets start with Helen who is offended as a woman but finds it hard to muster any defence for those whose religious sensibilities are offended. Is Helen really that dumb? Or is it rather that she cannot afford to understand the satire, because to do so would require her to defend a religious tolerance that she is systematically dismantling in New Zealand?

The satire is quite simply (being a simple man) aimed at Catholic religious practices regarding relics, in particular the "weeping" or "bleeding" statues examples. Southpark thinks they're fakes so its a good laugh. In this example, the Virgin Mary statue is bleeding. The Pope declares it is menstruation. And the statue bleeds even more in response including on the Pope.

Which makes me wonder why Lyndsay Freer is also playing dumb about what the satire really means. Shouldn't she identify the satire and claim it as religious intolerance? Hmmm. I've always thought it was "nice" that the Catholics spokesman is a sheila.

Perhaps, the real problem is this: the satire is not really about relics at all. Perhaps its about Catholicism's conservative views regarding women? Perhaps its about a papacy that denigrates women and in referring to menstruation is painted as reducing them to mere breeding stock (remember the no contraception rule) and couldn't possibly consider this statue to be the source of a miracle? Perhaps Mary is getting back at the Pope?

So that would make it profeminist...

Best not to try to understand these things.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


My mother used to own this awful lamp. Actually, she still has the lamp, and it works fine. It was the lampshade that was awful. It’s funny how you always remember the lampshade and never the lamp itself. It was a disgusting mustard colour with this frilly fringe and a laced edging around the rim. It had that old kind of feel but short of really antique, so it just looked ugly rather than classical.

Jesus never told any parables about lampshades. I’m not sure that the lamps of the day were really powerful enough to warrant shading. But in Luke 8 he does talk about lamps where the light gets obscured – maybe because they’re put under a bed – which seems nonsensical (which was Jesus’ point) or under a jar which seems self-defeating if the result is the flame going out for lack of oxygen.

What happens if a lampshade is so ugly that no one wants to own the lamp anymore? The light remains the same but the lampshade style of the day is just plain ugly. Will anyone bother with the lamp? Will anyone even try turning on the light?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Marx, Postmodernism and Blogging

One of the things thats been troubling me lately is whether there are any classist/nationalist implications for blogging especially in the economic sphere. Then I wondered whether postmodern interpretations might help. I ended up in the works of Fellini, where a predominant concept is the distinction between without and within. Lyotard uses the term ‘nationalism’ to denote the common ground between class and society. In a sense, many discourses concerning subcapitalist theory exist.

The primary theme of Werther’s analysis of the subdeconstructivist paradigm of expression is the economy, and some would say the collapse, of deconstructive sexual identity. Sartre uses the term ‘nationalism’ to denote a self-sufficient whole. It could be said that Baudrillard promotes the use of the subdeconstructivist paradigm of expression to deconstruct class.
“Society is intrinsically impossible,” says Lyotard. The subject is contextualised into a nationalism that includes sexuality as a totality. Therefore, Debord’s model of the neocultural paradigm of consensus states that reality, somewhat ironically, has significance, but only if nationalism is valid.

In the works of Fellini, a predominant concept is the concept of textual language. The main theme of the works of Fellini is the difference between sexual identity and class. However, Sartre suggests the use of neocapitalist conceptualist theory to attack sexism.

“Sexual identity is part of the fatal flaw of consciousness,” says Marx; however, according to la Tournier, it is not so much sexual identity that is part of the fatal flaw of consciousness, but rather the absurdity, and eventually the failure, of sexual identity. Bataille uses the term ‘precultural nihilism’ to denote a mythopoetical whole. In a sense, any number of narratives concerning the role of the reader as participant may be found.

To come full circle, Derrida promotes the use of nationalism to analyse and modify class. Thus, Marx uses the term ‘Sontagist camp’ to denote the common ground between art and society.

And it leads me to think that blogging is a part of creating this common ground - a nexus if you like between art and a more profoungly sociological statement. Its all rather mindblowing - I suppose I could be wrong.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened...

I love malapropisms! I find them most entertaining, probably because I'm secretly feeling superior to the user...A malapropism (from French mal à propos, "ill to purpose") is an incorrect usage of a word, usually with comic effect. The term malapropism comes from the name of Mrs Malaprop, a character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy, The Rivals, whose name was in turn derived from the existing English word malapropos, meaning 'inappropriately'. In fact there is even a website where some individual has collected them.

I am such a nerd in this area that I have even created my own malaproprism for "malapropism" - "malappropriatism" - these are the best kind of malapropisms: where the meaning is almost right. A great example occurred in a High Court judge's decision I once reviewed when I was working for the High Court. The judgment said: ..."went off like a damp squid". Now the correct saying should have been "damp squib" but I was forced to concede that nothing goes off like a damp squid...if you're not laughing by now this just proves that I am a nerd to like this stuff!

Anyway, last night my brother in law commented, as he is prone to do, on my mother lamenting the lack of eligible men at this wedding she attended. This is in itself a disturbing enough topic! But then he gave his sage advice: "Perhaps you're not showing enough cleaverage" It took everything I had not to laugh uproariously, not helped by the fact that I then quipped to my mother: "maybe it is a cleaverage problem." Of course its the problem, I thought. Any woman showing too much cleaver is likely to scare away even the most enamoured suitor!

I'm still laughing! There was another interesting story concerning apparent Catholic hyprocrisy which I might blog on later...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Poetry

I decided to wheel out one of my all-time faves from a past life...a poem of love way of contrast, I've never known the subject of the last line to let me down...this may not translate to the legion of US readers, but references to a popular series of commercials featuring a superior NZ ale may obscure the meaning more than my inept penmanship...

The Perfect 10

I've heard it said, "She's a hard road finding the perfect woman mate."
But she seemed perfect.
Perhaps she was too perfect?
Which is not perfect at all.
My cheap car alarm emotions could not protect me from her fatal flaw:
An imperfect appreciation of my appreciation.
She did drink Speights but.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I love my new LOTR Extended Mega Mix Directors Cut Extravaganza Gift DVD far I have not even watched the movies themselves - just the docos...

This week I had cause to reflect on the character of one of the least-celebrated members of the Fellowship of the Ring: Boromir. Here is a man who is passionate and intense - driven even - fueled by the very best motives but prone to the inevitability of human self-deception and pride. His encounter with Frodo in FOTR, just before the Uruk Hai arrive, may be the most overt act of betrayal in the entire trilogy (perhaps only Saruman is worse?) He convinces himself that Frodo's quest is pointless, that his very journey to Mordor will in fact deliver the ring to Sauron, rather than see its destruction. Actually, he had a point: it was a very near thing! And yet Boromir, stricken by his betrayal, spends his life in defence of the fellowship - there is a restoration and reconciliation implicit to his act of self sacrificing love.

Boromir reminds me of 2 of the disciples who demonstrated a similar kind of passion and intensity: Peter and Judas. Peter who betrays Jesus by denying his association with him, not once but 3 times; Judas who betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Although in Judas' case some would say maybe he had a point - Judas may have been affiliated with the Zealots, who looked to the the Messiah for a military and political solution for Roman oppression. Might Judas have hoped for an insurrection in the wake of Jesus' arrest? Peter for his part is frequently portrayed as impetuous and even arrogant - sometimes the impetuous actions of great faith, others the impetuous actions of great pride.

The thing that grabs me about these 2 is that they both betray Jesus and yet their reactions are so different. One capitulates to despair and ends his own life, utterly alone. The other is restored to relationship with Jesus and the other disciples - he goes on to become a great leader in the early church. Its a choice that is often ours: where we will turn in times of failure and disappointment - inwards in the worst sense as Judas did, or outwards, to be reconciled to God and to the community in which we are placed? The irony is that its often the same deep-seated pride that leads us to failure that holds us back from the surrender of ego that is implicit in being reconciled, whether it is to God or others.

I'm just waiting for the right opportunity to massively indulge a first viewing of the extended FOTR - maybe this weekend?